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VIDEO: Frenchman Commits Suicide In Mecca, Jumping Off Roof of Grand Mosque

[Some early foreign sources described the man as a “suicide-bomber“, but mentioned no device.]

VIDEO: Frenchman commits suicide in Mecca Grand Mosque

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Riyadh: A Frenchman has committed suicide by throwing himself off the roof of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi and French officials said on Saturday.

“A foreigner threw himself from the roof of the Grand Mosque in Mecca” to the courtyard below, “resulting in his instant death”, Saudi police told SPA.

A French foreign ministry official told AFP in Paris that the dead man was French but gave no further details.

The body was transported to hospital, with an investigation underway “to determine the victim’s identity, what led to the act and how he was able to commit it despite the existence of a metal fence”, SPA said.

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Houthi Missiles Sink UAE Warship, Seriously Damage Saudi Vessel

Yemeni War Report – June 14, 2018: Battle For Hudaydah

On June 13, the Saudi-led coalition launched a new operation to capture the Yemeni port city of Hudaydah from the Houthis.

“Liberation of the port is the beginning of the fall of the Houthi militias. It will secure navigation in the Bab al-Mandab Strait and cut off the hands of Iran,” the Saudi-backed government of Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi said in a statement.

The ground operation is reportedly supported by the air and naval forces of the Saudi-led coalition. Pro-Saudi and pro-UAE sources claim that the attack is ongoing from multiple directions. However, according to local sources, the advance is mainly taking place south of Hudaydah, near the airport.

On the same day, the Yemeni Navy [loyal to the Houthis] announced that it had targeted a vessel of the Saudi-led coalition off the coast of Hudaydah with two anti-ship missiles. According to the Navy, the vessel was one of the many participating in the attack on the city. The vessels attempted to carry out a landing operation in the framework of the advance on Hudayadh, but were forced to retreat after the strike.

Over the past months, the coalition’s forces have made multiple attempts to reach and capture Hudaydah. However, they have not been able to achieve this goal.

Pro-coalition sources also claim that the Houthis use the port to smuggle weapons from Iran. The city also hosts at least one of the facilities used by the Houthis to make water-born improvised explosive devices to attack the coalition’s vessels.

At the same time, Hudaydah is the last remaining humanitarian lifeline in the Houthis-controlled part of the war-torn country.


SOURCE

 

Russian Min. of Def. Warns of Impending Chemical Provocation In Deir Ezzor

‘Free Syrian Army’ & US Preparing Chemical Provocation in Deir Ezzor: Russian MoD

Russian military spokesman Igor Konashenkov
Russian military spokesman Igor Konashenkov

 

 

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Monday that militants of the so-called ‘Free Syrian Army’ had already brought canisters with chlorine to a settlement in Deir Ezzor to stage another “chemical attack against civilians.”

“According to the information received via three independent channels in Syria, the command of the so-called ‘Free Syrian Army’ with assistance from the servicemen of US special operations forces is preparing a serious provocation with the use of toxic substance in Deir Ezzor province,” Konashenkov said.

The ministry noted that the video of the use of chemical substances would become grounds for US coalition’s attacks on institutions of the Syrian government.

“The staffed video, after it is disseminated in the western media, should become new grounds for the US-led coalition to carry out a missile strike against Syrian state objects and to justify militants’ offensive against Syrian government troops on the eastern bank of Euphrates,” Konashenkov added.

The Russian Defense Ministry warns that the use of such provocations to destabilize the situation in Syria is unacceptable, he stressed.

In April, the US, the UK and France launched airstrikes against Syria accusing Damascus of a chemical attack in the city of Douma. The Syrian and Russian governments have charged the US and UK-funded White Helmet group with staging a false-flag chemical attack in the city to prompt Western military intervention.

Source: Sputnik

Italy Sends Troops Into Eastern Syrian Melee

Italian soldiers stand to attention during a change of command ceremony at an Italian military camp near Herat airport© AFP 2018 / Aref KARIMI

Italy Sends Troops to Syria’s Oil-Rich Deir Ez-Zor Province – Reports

Italy has sent troops to the Eastern Syrian province of Deir Ez-Zor, the Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency reported, citing local anonymous sources. According to the outlet, Italian forces were deployed to areas controlled by Kurds roughly a week ago.

The news agency also reported that they are stationed at a US base in the oil-rich Al-Omar region. There has been no official information about the number of Italian troops deployed, nor has there been any confirmation of the reports.

READ MORE: Truman Carrier Group Renews Attacks on Daesh From E Mediterranean — US Navy

The US-led coalition is currently battling Daesh* in its last bastions in the Deir Ez-Zor and Al-Hasakah provinces. Turkish media reported that Italian forces have not yet participated in any action against the terrorists, but suggested they would be supporting YPG/PKK forces.

*Daesh, also known as ISIS, Islamic State, is a terror group banned in Russia.

Trump is writing the US out of the Middle East

The US is writing itself out of the Middle East

Trump’s preference for posturing over policy has given Putin more leverage

Donald Trump, who went to Saudi Arabia last year for his first trip abroad as US president, met King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud and Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Riyadh © Saudi Press Agency/EPA

Donald Trump’s bluster has done little except backfire in the Middle East. In a region already in flames, his attitude has every chance of lighting new fires. The US under this president is manifestly incapable of using its unique military might to reach the delusional goals he is pursuing — such as eliminating Iran’s influence across the Middle East and even toppling its Shia Islamist regime.

This US preference for posturing over policy has, by default, left Vladimir Putin’s Russia holding the mediation ring in the region. Even if President Putin’s main goal is to preserve his own fragile gains — above all Moscow’s mastery of Syria as a springboard for Russia’s return to the top table of world powers — this presents him with a problem.

To recap: a year ago Mr Trump went to Saudi Arabia and Israel for his first trip abroad as president. In Riyadh, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto Saudi ruler known as MbS, laid on a roomful of about 50 Arab and African leaders — mostly Sunni despots. Mr Trump called for a Saudi-led Sunni jihad against Shia Iran. The idea was fanciful.

Three years after launching an air war in Yemen, MbS has shown that, whatever it spends on US and British arms, Saudi Arabia cannot defeat rag-tag rebels in the poorest Arab nation, let alone Iran, with the potent paramilitary forces it has nurtured in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and, indeed, Yemen. Incited by the Riyadh summit, the young crown prince went on to lead a blockade of Qatar, the maverick Gulf emirate, and detain Saad Hariri , prime minister of Lebanon. Both countries have now moved closer to Iran.

One year on, it is not a putative Saudi-led jihad against Iran that is convulsing the region but the real and accelerating possibility of war between Israel and Iran — cheered on, once again, by Mr Trump. Though the Israeli air force has been bombing Iranian and Lebanese Hizbollah targets in Syria for five years, the first direct confrontation between Israel and Iran took place just after the president noisily withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal Tehran had signed with the US and five other world powers.

Last week, there were at least two more big Israeli air strikes in Syria against Iran/Hizbollah targets. That is the hot potato Mr Putin is holding. Russia is the only power with close links to both Israel and Iran. It was the combination of Russian air power and Iranian paramilitary forces on the ground that saved Syrian president Bashar al-Assad from a Sunni-majority rebellion. Yet Moscow has turned a blind eye to Israel operating in the Syrian airspace that Russia supposedly controls.

If Israel seriously damages the capability of Iran and its allies in Syria, that would kick away the props with which Mr Putin has shored up the Assads. Aside from the fireworks, therefore, there have been stirrings in the diplomatic undergrowth. Mr Putin had meetings in Russia this month with Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, and Mr Assad. Meanwhile Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, met Mohammad Javad Zarif, his Iranian counterpart.

Israel has long said it will not accept Iran establishing a permanent presence in Syria, or the threat of Hizbollah’s arsenal of Iranian rockets. This month it added it would hit Tehran and its allies in every corner of Syria. Russia appears to have helped negotiate the withdrawal of Iran and proxy forces from the south-west corner of Syria bordering Israel. There are, meanwhile, small signs that France is making headway on resolving the crisis in Yemen, where Iran supports the heterodox Shia Houthi rebels. President Emmanuel Macron has been talking to Mr Putin on a range of Iran-related problems.

This is all very tentative. May has been a dangerous month in the Middle East, during which Mr Trump has helped reignite the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, the Arab east of which has been illegally occupied by Israel for half a century. Nor should anyone think Mr Putin is a worthy candidate for a Nobel Peace Prize. The master of the Kremlin is acting partly out of frustration that he has not been able to leverage Syria to lift sanctions imposed against Russia; and partly from the realisation that his control of Syria is an illusion.

There is narrow path away from war here and it makes sense to deal with Mr Putin, as Mr Macron is doing. But Mr Trump, with the self-satisfied flourish of the outsize signature he so delights in showing the camera, has largely written the US out of the Middle East script.

Did Trump Green Light Zionist State Aggression To Finalize Theft of Golan Heights?

Israeli minister says U.S. may soon recognize Israel’s hold on Golan

[Syrian Army Enhancing Anti-Aircraft Defenses on Golan Heights – Reports]

Israeli Army Launches Surprise Military Drill in Syria’s Occupied Golan Heights

US/Saudi/UAE/Brit Forces Pound Yemen’s Only Humanitarian Port of Entry

[U.S. Deepens Role in Yemen Fight, Offers Gulf Allies Airstrike-Target Assistance

American military to provide information to fine-tune list of targets in important port]

 

The Saudi-led coalition just launched an attack on Yemen’s Hodeidah — and it could be disastrous

Tribal fighters loyal to the Yemeni government stand by a tank in al-Faza area near Hodeida, Yemen June 1, 2018.
Tribal fighters loyal to the Yemeni government stand by a tank in al-Faza area near Hodeida, Yemen June 1, 2018.
Reuters

 

  • Troops backed by a Saudi-led coalition started an assault on Wednesday on Yemen’s main port city of Hodeidah, which is held by the Houthi movement.
  • The news came Wednesday night after US military officials said that the US is helping the Saudi-led coalition choose targets that will minimize civilian casualties.
  • The United Nations and aid groups have been scrambling to stall the attack, warning that an assault on Hodeidah could spiral out of control, compounding already arguably the worst humanitarian disaster in the world.

Troops backed by a Saudi-led coalition started an assault on Wednesday on Yemen’s main port city of Hodeidah, which is held by Iranian-backed Houthis, according to Al-Arabiya television.

The battle for Hodeidah is expected to be by far the biggest of a three-year war between an alliance of Arab states and the Iranian-backed Houthis.

The news came Wednesday night after US military officials said that the US is helping the Saudi-led coalition choose targets that will minimize civilian casualties.

The Trump administration last week was reportedly considering helping the UAE, which is part of the Saudi-led coalition, in an assault on Hodeidah.

Meanwhile, the United Nations and aid groups have been scrambling to stall the attack, warning that an assault on Hodeidah could spiral out of control, compounding already arguably the worst humanitarian disaster in the world.

Houthi supporters hold up rifles as they rally to protest the killing of Saleh al-Samad, a senior Houthi official, by a Saudi-led coalition air strike in Hodeidah, Yemen April 25, 2018.
Houthi supporters hold up rifles as they rally to protest the killing of Saleh al-Samad, a senior Houthi official, by a Saudi-led coalition air strike in Hodeidah, Yemen April 25, 2018.
Reuters

 

“We fear that a prolonged attack or siege on Hodeidah could be catastrophic for civilians,” Lise Grande, the UN’s head Yemen humanitarian coordinator, previously told The Wall Street Journal, adding that 250,000 of the city’s 400,000 people could be killed.

The US also helps the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen with “limited intelligence sharing,” aerial refueling for coalition jets, and training to make coalition airstrikes more precise, Major Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesperson, previously told Business Insider.

Green Berets are even reportedly helping Saudi Arabia locate and destroy Iranian-backed Houthi ballistic missiles and launch sites in the war-torn country.

The Saudi-led coalition has been accused of conducting indiscriminate and unlawful airstrikes, as well as blocking food, fuel, and medicine into Yemen, according to Human Rights Watch. At the same time, the Houthis have repeatedly fired artillery at Yemeni cities, missiles at Saudi Arabia (most recently on June 9), been accused of using child soldiers, and more.

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